by Sally Lopez
According to Governor Newsom, “minorities would be the first to receive the Covid-19 vaccine” and that it would be distributed to the larger latinx communities.
Yet, the vaccine has been the least given out to older Latinos compared to non-latino whites. We know that latinx communities here in California have been the hardest hit and have the highest mortality rate from ages 0-54. So why is it taking so long to vaccinate more of our latino population? The media is stating that latinos are wary and fear of the side effects, although that may be true, personal stories have said that there are other factors.
In the Los Angeles community more and more people are starting to notice that neighboring cities are taking advantage of the opportunities offered to those in low-income communities. For example, someone I know was able to receive Covid-19 tests faster by driving out to low-income communities such as Maywood and taking two up to three tests because of less slots in Culver city. Some family members working in hospital settings have also said people working within private hospitals have been jumping their family members to the front lines to receive the vaccine before those listed as Tier 1A & B ,meaning regardless of not being an “essential “ worker or a senior over the age of 60 they are receiving their first dosage. I’m not clear on how this can be happening but it is making it much more difficult for others. It makes me think maybe it is not the lack of opportunity but the fact that the opportunities are being taken advantage of.
Then again, we must factor in the lack of accessibility of information to the community. Having an immigrant status or being undocumented makes people think that they are not allowed to receive the vaccine or that they must pay to receive it but that is not true. There’s also the fact that people cannot get the information they need and the media is also causing misinformation. They are just hearing symptoms, side effects, certain people suffered from this because of mouth to mouth spreading of information. Many people do not investigate any further and make decisions upon that fear. People are scared including my own family members because so-and-so said something that made the vaccine not seem safe or seem worse than Covid-19 itself. Others have a mistrust in the whole pandemic situation and do not believe that it is something that serious but it all boils down to where they are receiving this information. How can they access not only learning more but making appointments? Going to and from appointments?
Most if not all of the Latino community are hard workers who work everyday in order to stay afloat. Many have already been sick and cannot afford to take off another day to receive the vaccine. Getting to the location can also be difficult because once you receive the vaccine it can affect your body in different ways, if someone is taking public transportation it can cause more stress to their body. There are many factors that contribute to the lack of vaccinations within the Latino community. It will certainly be a tough couple of months to get everyone safe and vaccinated.